Mogavero Architects

What’s Next? …Tiny Apartments!

Tiny Homes will soon be allowed to classify as permanent structures. Currently Tiny Homes are permitted only as a “motor vehicle” under the California Vehicle Code.

The International Code Council, the parent organization for our California Building Code, will update the 2018 International Residential Code to contain an appendix chapter permitting Tiny Homes. The 2019 California Residential Code will also contain the same appendix chapter, and while not mandatory, may be adopted by a City or County.

West Sacramento’s Chief Building Official, Randy Goodwin informed me the City of West Sacramento intends to allow Tiny Homes on a case-by-case basis. I have seen quite a bit of support for Tiny Homes by other building officials throughout the State as well.

Distinctions between a Tiny Home and a standard home is space will be limited to 400 square feet and can have sleeping lofts rather than standard bedrooms. The minimum ceiling height under the sleeping loft will be reduced to 6’-4” for bathrooms and kitchens, and 6’-8” elsewhere under the loft and 3’ above. Lofts may be accessible by conventional stairs, steep stairs (12” risers), ships ladder, or alternating tread device or ladder.

The Building Code Action Committee (BCAC), one of the groups responsible for proposing changes to the International Building Code, is working on a proposal for Tiny Apartments with similar regulations. The proposal will be submitted for review and approval in January 2018, with review and approval by the end of the year. Once adopted as part of the 2021 International Building Code, inclusion in the 2022 California Building Code will follow.

While proposals aren’t assured of approval, with the widespread support for this concept, I believe Tiny Apartments with sleeping lofts will soon become a part of our California housing community for both affordable and market rate apartments.

Tiny Homes may also prove to be a key component in addressing homelessness. Stay tuned.

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